Most aquaponics systems that are running commercially are operating with a standard water pump driving the flow from the fish tank to the grow bed. There are some very small units that don’t. These are air driven aquaponics gardens where the use of a water pump is simply not possible. The AquaFarm, by Back to the Roots Inc. is one such. It is a 3 gallon fish tank that has an air pump concealed in the grow bed above the tank. Air pulls water up the clear tube and into the grow bed to nourish lettuce and arugula.
In Hawaii, though, the use of air driven aquaponic gardens for much larger installations is being championed by the Ben and Glenn AquaZen Show.
In this video, the use of air driven systems is highlighted, making an interesting case for moving away from standard garden pumps to air driven aquaponics gardens when considering using solar power to provide the electricity. It is true that pond pumps can use a considerable amount of power when they are required to overcome a substantial head. Water pumps also need to be either close or submersed within the water reservoir to operate efficiently. This requires that a power source be located wherever the pump is required. The video suggests that air driven systems can be just as effective, but located quite a distance from the actual air driven aquaponics gardens themselves. In this video he mentions a distance of 100 feet. The water lift is operated without requiring electricity to drive it.
Preppers and Survialists Should Consider Air Driven Aquaponics Gardens
When considering aquaponics systems for disaster situations, the main problem will be supplying power to the circulatory system. Air driven aquaponics gardens are a logical choice assuming there is adequate water movement with an air pump. A large air pump can be driven by a 60W solar panel with little problem. Since it produces air, it can be used to drive a number of systems.
Unfortunately the actual mechanics of the water movement is not well documented in this video, it is difficult to be sure an air driven aquaponics systems are the best for off the grid usage, but the video does seem quite promising. Water is pumped up quite high, and the volume obtained is also satisfactory for the requirements of most grow beds.
It may take a bit more effort to get the plumbing correct and balanced for the appropriate movement of water through your air driven aquaponics gardens, but the electrical requirements will be reduced and within the realm of solar powered off grid operation.